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Thread: "Hello World" in Russian

  1. #1
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    "Hello World" in Russian

    Hi everyone, it's Medved, today I'm going to elaborate on some basic stuff regarding Russian for those who are just about to start learning it or at the very beginning of the process. I am a Russian and I have some experience in Language exchange (do not mix it up with teaching, I'm not a pro teacher) so I used to explain a lot of stuff about Russian to foreigners.

    So as I said we're going to work on a simplest phrase in Russian, but "Hello world" (you know this is the traditional name of the very first program when someone gets the hang of a new programming language), so hello world doesn't fit right because it's WAY TOO simple and you can't learn anything from "Здравствуй, мир!" so I'll go for another phrase (I thought it up myself).

    The phrase is: Стой на месте, не ходи туда, там опасно.

    The translation is: Stay where you are, don't go there, it's dangerous there.

    As you can see I separated the clauses with commas and you can compare the items separately.

    Well, let's start off with some phonetic stuff. The very first thing I would like to say about it is that the Russians shape their tongue in a different way than the English speaking people do. The difference in articulation is a feature that is hard to understand at first, but nonetheless, it's an important thing and I'll try to elaborate on that in regard to the phrase.

    Here's the soundfile: https://soundcloud.com/fox-29/stay/s-1T5OY

    It's me saying this phrase. I'm not using any special intonation patterns, the voice is a bit robotic, although there are several ways to say it in order to convey different feelings, like anger, uncertainty, fright or whatever, just like in English.

    Now here are some words about key features. The first one is that my tongue throughout the whole phrase LIES DOWN the tip touching the insides of the LOWER FRONT TEETH. It might sound strange but it is. The sound comes mainly from the point inbetween the roof of the mouth (right near the alveolar ridge, which feels like a hard bump right behind your upper front teeth) and the front part of the tongue bent upwards toward it. Sometimes they touch each other to make plosive sounds, sometimes they form a small chink to produce fricative sounds. I call it the lower position. There is also the upper position when the tip touches the ridge right behind the top teeth. But I don't use any of those sounds in this phrase. Practice it a bit after the mp3 file.

    Listen to the file and compare it with what you know about the sounds of Russian.

    Here's how it sounds: Стойнаместе, нихадитуда, тамапасна

    I underlined the soft consonants and marked in bold the stressed vowels. Analyse how the stress affects the pitch. It sort of slides up towards the stressed vowel and then slides down. Not jumps, which is important, but gradually but rapidly slides. Imagine a roof, it goes up and then down, right?

    Now as you can hear, the prepositions are connected to the words near them, we do it a lot just like you do in your mother tongue, I even did it in this tiny simple sample phrase, let alone we do it in common speech. Simple sample, hehe, I am a poet, aren't I? Okay, anyway, let's move on. A connected preposition never gets a stress, they are reduced and toned down compared to the syllables that the stress falls on. Well, except the cases when you want to emphasize the preposition, like you want to go UNDER the bed, not ON the bed. Russian works the same way. Otherwise prepositions are slurred and reduced.

    Ok I'll have some rest and then move on to the grammar.
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    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  2. #2
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Okay here's the next part of the minilesson. Before I get into the grammar I want to give some details about the sounds which I use in that short piece of text. Here's the one:

    Стой на месте, не ходи туда, там опасно -- This is how it looks
    Стой на месте, ни хади туда, там апасна -- This is how it sounds

    Стой. It sounds like "s-toy" but said with that other part of the tongue I described in the first part.
    Added: some words about some tricky consonants

    на. It's like "nah". Russian Ah sound sounds pretty much alike with the sound Ah as in father.

    месте. The English spelling would be "meh-s-teh" except that tricky thing about Soft vowels and consonants.

    не - sounds like neh, except it's soft.

    ходи - sounds like "kha-dee". The Russian Х is transliterated as the English H but they don't sound the same. The Russian Х is made by stretching out the sound K. Like you touch the palate with the tongue to make the K sound but not make it plosive, without stopping the airflow but hold it up there, almost touching, leavng a tiny hole inbetween the tongue and the palate which produces the sound. The tip of the tongue is free, it doesn't influence the sound except it's put somewhere really crazy like touching the nose Well, I pronounced the whole word with the tip touching the lower teeth to keep the lower tongue position throughout the whole phrase.

    туда is too-dah, I don't know what to add.

    там is like t-hum, or t-ham with the ah as in father.

    опасно reads as ah-pas-nah, you must have noticed that the letter O transforms into Ah sound. Well, it's not really an Ah, it's like inbetween Ah and Uh sound, reduction works. Sometimes it becomes a real Uh sound like Uh as in cut or even like that almost nonexistent Uh as in suddenly ('sʌd(ə)nlɪ). This happens when an O is unstressed. A stressed O becomes a real Oh as in soft. Well, they still have some differences and not quite identical but they are approximately alike (I mean an English Oh and a Russian Oh).

    Here are some words about soft sounds. You can learn about them somewhere else but I have some words about it too.

    Look at the picture below:


    I encircled the syllables that become soft. They become soft because of the soft vowels, (here they are: яеёюи), and the soft sign. The first syllable becomes soft (palatalized) because of the soft vowel E. The next one because of the same sound, pay attention that it makes soft both the T and the C consonants (at least in my accent), I can pronounce the C as a hard consonant and a T as a palatalized version but it's inconvenient to me so I "soften" the both sounds. Well, the "ни" and the "ди" are both soft because of the И sounds that follow them. It makes the preceding consonants soft just like the other soft vowels (see above).

    Well, that's all I can think of to say about pronunciation, well, I remind you, the tip of the tongue is DOWN, and that's all for now.

    To be continued (c)
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  3. #3
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Now here are some words about key features. The first one is that my tongue throughout the whole phrase LIES DOWN the tip touching the insides of the LOWER FRONT TEETH. It might sound strange but it is. The sound comes mainly from the point inbetween the roof of the mouth (right near the alveolar ridge, which feels like a hard bump right behind your upper front teeth) and the front part of the tongue bent upwards toward it. Sometimes they touch each other to make plosive sounds, sometimes they form a small chink to produce fricative sounds. I call it the lower position. There is also the upper position when the tip touches the ridge right behind the top teeth. But I don't use any of those sounds in this phrase. Practice it a bit after the mp3 file.
    You mean the tongue is lying down by default but moves up to the alveolar ridge to make the sounds right?

  4. #4
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    You mean the tongue is lying down by default but moves up to the alveolar ridge to make the sounds right?
    No Chemist, I mean the tongue stays down even when making these sounds. Only the front part of the tongue moves up and touches the ridge, well, you can call it the middle part if you want, but the tip keeps touching the lower teeth all the way.
    The upper position is used to make Ч, Щ, Л sounds (although I can also make these with the tip down), and I'll get the right sounds but it's more convenient to move the tip up for these sounds.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  5. #5
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Here's what it looks like:

    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин MISSFOXYSWEETCHERRY's Avatar
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    The most Amazing lesson, i've ever read for Russian!
    Thanks Medved! I really learnt a lot from it!
    keep writing !!!!
    спасибо
    Let's Live By The Moment... Cause Together Ain't Promised Forever
    Жить надо так, чтобы тебя помнили и сволочи
    Du Vet Inte Vad Som Kan Hända Innan Aftonen!

  7. #7
    Увлечённый спикер
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    It sounds like I have a speech impediment...

    I really need to talk with you on Skype at some point to make sure I am getting this right.

  8. #8
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    You don't have to worry chemist, it's quite normal. I remember how foolish I felt when I first tried to pronounce a TH sound like TH as in think. So it's a matter of practice and yes, your tongue really needs some time and practice to get accustomed to this new way of articulation. Which doesn't mean that I refuse a small Skype talk.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  9. #9
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    OOPS, see the thext post. Some technical trouble here.
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  10. #10
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    It's Medved, hi again. Here's some grammar I promised. Well, grammar is how words link to each other to create phrases and stuff. I'm going to show you which words are used in these phrases and how they link together in the Russian language.

    So here's the list:

    стоять (stay)
    на (on)
    место (place)
    не (not)
    ходить (go)
    там (there)
    опасно (dangerous)

    First of all, some words about negations.
    We use the "не" particle to negate things. Like these:
    I love = Я люблю,
    I don't love = Я не люблю.

    I am strong = Я сильный,
    I am not strong = Я не сильный

    The "НЕ" sounds like "neh", well, the tip of the tongue is down, just like for the whole phrase. The Н (sounds similar to an English N) is soft (palatalized) because of the E sound. A very common mistake which learners of Russian make, is that they pronounce it adding the sound "j" like the "Y" as in "yes" inbetween the Н and the E so that it sounds like "N-yeh". It's wrong. A palatalized consonant is already a step to make a right soft vowel so you don't need to make this j-sound, you should, sort of, include it in the Н sound. Soften the Н the right way and the transition from the soft Н to the soft Е will come natural and smooth.

    Now a couple of words about the word THERE. This is a tricky word in Russian. In English you don't change it to mean a location or a direction. In Russian we do. Moreover, we have three words for "THERE" in Russian. Location "there", direction "toward there", and direction "away from there". They are all in the next picture.



    We have ТАМ for a location, ТУДА for a direction toward there, and ОТТУДА for a direction away from there. I underlined the stressed vowels.

    Here are the "here" variants in Russian for a change. You will definitely need them in future so it's high time you learned them.



    ЗДЕСЬ, СЮДА, ОТСЮДА.

    Okay, now Стоять means "to stay". When you give an order, it's called "imperative", in Russian стоять transforms into стой (or стойте when you want to sound polite). In Russian we have two forms of addressing people, polite and informal. You may talk with your close friends using the informal form but you have to use the formal/polite one to address elders, strangers, dominant people etc. Otherwise it may sound impolite or even rude. We have two variants of "you" - "ты" and "вы". "Вы" is used for plurals, like you are addressing a group of people, or to address a person in a polite way. We also change the endings of words to correspond to the polite form: стоять -> стой (informal) -> стойте (polite). Идти - иди - идите (adding a ТЕ is a polite or plural form). It sounds like teh. Идите sounds like ee-dee-teh. Стойте = S-toy-teh.

    на is a preposition. It's the same as "on" referring to a place. I'm on a table. I'm on the roof. Like you are standing on the roof of a building.

    место is the same as "place". I said "на месте", not "на место" it's because of the case system of the Russian language. The preposition "на" referring to a location needs the prepositional case, "на месте". When the same preposition "на" refers to a direction, like the English "onto", it needs accusative, "на место" like "иди на место" (literally: go onto the place), go to your place. Nouns change their endings according to cases. And cases are evoked by verbs or prepositions or other things, you may read about the case system somewhere else. Here the reason to use the "на" as a location is the verb "stay". You can stay somewhere, not "to" somewhere. It's only used for a location. That's why I said "стой на месте", not "стой на место". Although as I said, "иди на место" sounds perfectly fine, because иди (go!) conveys a movement, so it needs a direction, the direction will be conveyed by "на место". Иди на место.

    Now let's move to the second clause. "Don't go there" Не ходи туда.
    You already know about the negation "не" and the directional "to there" aka туда.
    The only thing left is the verb "ходи(ть)". Ходить is the infinitive form and the imperative will be "ходи". Or "ходите" for plurals or polite addressing. So if you say "не ходите туда", it means that you're asking someone who is not your close friend not to go there. Or you're asking a group of people. Стойте на месте. Не ходите туда. Another trick in Russian is that the verbs of motion also have two forms, unidirectional and bidirectional. Ходить is the bidirectional form of the Russian verb, and Идти is the unidirectional. When you are using a negation, you have to use a bidirectional form and when you're not using a negation, use a unidirectional one. It is a rule. So if you want someone to "go there" you say "иди туда", and when you don't want them to go there, you say "не ходи туда". Of course you can add "ТЕ" to be polite. And I think you already guessed why I used "туда", not "там". It's because of "direction vs location". And yes, you can say "не ходите сюда" (look at the picture above) meaning "don't go here" in a polite version because of the "те" in the "ходите".

    Here's a list of some verbs with unidirectional and bidirectional forms.

    go -- идти (иди), ходить (ходи)
    swim - плыть (плыви), плавать (плавай)
    run - бежать (беги), бегать (бегай)
    crawl - ползти (ползи), ползать (ползай)
    drive - ехать (едь), ездить (езди)
    carry - нести (неси), носить (носи)

    All of those verbs have an imperative form, I gave it in parentheses after the infinitive form. Of course you can add a "те" to be polite. Like "не ползайте туда" means a polite version of "don't crawl there". And "ползите сюда" means a polite/plural version of "crawl here".

    Okay, now it's time for the last phrase, "it's dangerous there". As you can guess, I use the same word "there" but meaning a location, not a direction. I logically use the "там" instead of a "туда" because it's a location, not a direction (look at the picture above). Там опасно. Or Здесь опасно (It's dangerous here).
    Or Там опасно, здесь не опасно. It's dangerous there, it's not dangerous here.

    Опасно is "dangerous" as well as "холодно" is cold and "жарко" is hot.

    Well, I think that's all. Next time I'll give some glue how to use them to create your own sentences using the words I mentioned, well, I hope you have already guessed how to do that, but at least I'll give the correct variants like:
    Здесь жарко, не стойте здесь, идите туда, там не жарко.

    See you next time, good luck!
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  11. #11
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    спасибо

    You are very talented, I enjoyed the lesson and learned a lot.
    Medved likes this.

  12. #12
    Подающий надежды оратор
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    Very good but the Soundcloud files no longer exist :/

  13. #13
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Oops, I'll re-record them asap.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

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